Stuck in Xela
By Jalapeño Jacobo
Each month we send our field correspondent, Jalapeño Jacobo, to interview and harass one of Xela’s most infamous extranjeros to find out why the hell they’ve lived in Xela for so long (just kidding Xela, we love you.) This month we spoke to Lindsey Horwitz, who was raised in Olympia, Washington in the United States but is now part owner of El Cuartito Café here in Xela.
I first visited Xela for a week in college on my way to study abroad in Rio Dulce. To be honest, I thought the city was dirty and boring and couldn’t wait to move on.
…So why did you come back?
During my study abroad I fell in love with Guatemala and continued visiting the country after I graduated. I eventually decided to come back to Xela in 2007 because of the NGO scene here, and I was originally planning on staying for three months…
Which turned into nine years…
…Yea, the community here sucked me in almost immediately. The city is so welcoming and it’s so easy to meet new people. Not to mention the fact that I met a wonderful Guatemalan boy who is now my husband.
Heard that one before. And what does your life in Xela look like today?
In 2009 my husband and I decided it was time to get serious and bought El Cuartito. It’s a cafe near Parque Central which also has food, including the best nachos in town, and live music. Most of my days are spent taking care of the cafe in the mornings and enjoying the afternoons and evenings with family and friends.
What does your family in the United States think about you getting stuck in Xela?
I’m an only child so they’re definitely not thrilled, but they’ve learned to deal. They’re still upset I don’t live at the beach or at Lake Atitlan though.
Is there anything you miss about home?
Bathtubs. Bathtubs full of hot water. Every day.
You miss bathtubs every day?
If I could take a bath every day I would.
Alright…What would be your best advice for new immigrants to Xela?
Smile more! Absorb the laid back attitude of the city. There’s nothing wrong with opening yourself up and saying buenas tardes to a stranger.
Rainy season is approaching, do you have any advice for newcomers?
Do everything you need to do in the morning. Because it will definitely rain that afternoon.
Can you tell us what your favorite hidden gem in Xela is?
I’m not telling. (I think she’s got something good, let the search begin)
Ok fair enough, how about in the pacas, any good finds you’d like to share?
My wedding dress: 40Q
Que suerte! Ok last and most important question: What would you put on your ideal tostada?
Do you mean enchilada?
I’m not sure?
The circle nacho things?
Yea those things.
Ok, I’d put some melted cheese on there, some avocado, and a lot of my Aunt’s famous pico de gallo, which can only be found at El Cuartito (shameless plug).